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What keeps you up at night worrying?
By Stephen W. Earnhart, MS
Earnhart & Associates
I was posed with an interesting question from the editor of Same-Day Surgery a few days ago: "If you lie awake at night worrying about work, what is it that you worry about?"
A good question for anyone in health care, or any business really. For me the answer is finding qualified staff members to work in the operating room environment. We still have open positions across the country, and it is difficult to find experienced individuals. It stands to reason that the pool of qualified candidates for directors, administrators, PACU, and the OR are dwindling. There are many new surgery centers and hospitals being built or expanded each year, and there are just so many people to go around filling them.
I polled my clients to ask them the same question. I was a little surprised to find that the greatest issues that kept them awake at night were related to computers/information technology. The average department/center has one server and 10 workstations (desktop computers). Keeping them all up and running and keeping staff from instant messaging is an ongoing problem for many centers.
The other issue facing the respondents was similar to mine: finding qualified staff. We recently ran an ad for a surgery center administrator in Kansas City. The ad cost $456, and we received one reply. And that was from someone who thought it sounded like a "cool" job and asked, "Do I have to have a high school diploma to apply?" Since many professionals do not (apparently) look at newspaper ads anymore, you need to get a little more contemporary in your thinking. Surprisingly, we have reached a number of people on www.Craigslist.org. This web site has local classifieds for 450 cities worldwide. It is mostly free.
The last response that I received was just "physician relations," which can mean just about anything. Getting along with surgeons is an art form. My best advice is the following:
[If you would like to be added to Earnhart's survey group, send your e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Various surgery-related questions are sent periodically to the group for immediate feedback. Earnhart & Associates is an ambulatory surgery consulting firm specializing in all aspects of surgery center development and management. Contact Earnhart at 1000 Westbank Drive, Suite 5B, Austin, TX 78746. E-mail: email@example.com. Web: www.earnhart.com.]